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Event Archive - JUNO nom/SiriusXM winners Sultans of String CD Release: The Sultans of String, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Fri. October 24th 2014 The Orpheum (All Ages)
8:00 - 10:00 doors at 7:00
Tickets at:
The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Pops series presents the extraordinary Canadian string ensemble, Sultans of String, who make their VSO debut in an exciting Pops concert Oct 24 & 25, plus a young audience performance on Oct 26!

Since forming 7 years ago, Sultans of String have been on a meteoric rise with an astonishing number of awards and accolades in tow, including a JUNO nomination, 2 CFMAs, SiriusXM Indies Award, 1st place in the ISC (out of 15,000 entries), plus invitations to play with such legendary artists as The Chieftains and David Bromberg. The Chieftains’ very own Paddy Moloney guests on the new CD.

Known for dizzying music jams, poly-rhythms and revved up riffs, the Sultans of String sound can't be pinned down -- it's Sable Island meets the Silk Road, with detours through the Gypsy-Jazz coffeehouses of Eastern Europe, next an East Coast Kitchen Party, then over to the bustling markets of Cuba and India. Fiery violin dances with kinetic guitar while a funky bass lays down unstoppable grooves. Throughout, acoustic strings meet electronic wizardry to create layers and depth of sound.

The band is led by 6-string violinist Chris McKhool (Jesse Cook, Pavlo) who grew up in a Lebanese-Egyptian house bursting with music and diversity. Growing up, Chris was fed a steady diet of delicious musicality alongside Middle Eastern cuisine and violin lessons.

When McKhool first heard founding guitarist Kevin Laliberté’s rumba rhythm, their musical synergy created Sultans of String’s signature sound – the intimate and playful relationship between violin and guitar. From this rich foundation, the dynamic duo has grown, featuring such amazing musical friends as bassist Drew Birston (Jesse Cook, Chantal Kreviazuk), Cuban percussionist Chendy Leon (Alex Cuba), as well as special guests such as folk-pop darlings, Dala, and sitar virtuoso, Anwar Khurshid (Oscar winning Life of Pi).

Classically-schooled McKhool thought “why stop there?” With Symphony!, Sultans of String have brought the glorious and majestic sound of a full orchestra to their feisty folk-world compositions, to create the ultimate crossover recording and show.


“A new fusion of roots and classical…the results are mind blowing. Even though the instrumentation is different, you get the feeling this is Strunz & Farah or Willie & Lobo or Gypsy Kings taken to the next level of the game, sometimes all at once… any fan of world beat or contemporary instrumental music is sure to absolutely flip for this gem. Hot stuff throughout and a sure bet to notch a Juno and any other award winning hardware to come its way.“
Midwest Record, Chicago

“Since they started out working as an instrumental duo, violinist Chris McKhool and guitarist Kevin Laliberte have kept adding players and guests, even occasional singers. Now there’s a whole orchestra backing the global fusion project on their new fourth album Symphony! But whether it’s four or 40, the band taps an irrepressible enthusiasm.”
Calgary Herald

[“There’s chemistry] in the violinist’s classical touch and Lebanese ancestry and the guitarist’s feel for rumba-flamenco grooves and jazz or rock jams. Today touches of Celtic, Gypsy jazz, Klezmer music and other influences fill out the mix… Symphony! manages to swing very nicely and the orchestra doesn’t sound like aural wallpaper for the band.”
Edmonton Journal

“You want fusion? How about from a 55 piece orchestra?!? Jamie Hopkings leads a gigantic band that has guests coming in and out like an Agatha Christie novel. The music itself is so celebratory and infectious that you can’t resist going along for the ride… This album does a wonderful job of demonstrating the glory of music from all over the world, mixing exotic sounds with foot tapping swing.”
Jazz Weekly

“What this band does is not only good fun, it’s stocked wall-to-wall with irresistible international musics – gypsy jazz classics, flamenco music, Inuit melody, ukulele raveups, visiting musicians from the Chieftains…Lebanese music, you name it. If it’s got strings and fingerboards, count them in. What they never forget to provide, though, is enough melodic charm to beguile almost anyone. The large orchestra certainly does give them gravitas but, on their own, they’ve got as much charm as they need.”
Buffalo News

"Impressive... the fusion is of a sort that could come from few places other than highly multicultural Canada. The Symphony! album includes, as the name suggests, a full orchestra…Still, the vaguely Arabic six-string violin of leader Chris McKhool remains central to the sound, adapting itself effortlessly to Gypsy music, flamenco, and various kind of Canadiana jazzed up with ethnic percussion."


• 2014 SiriusXM Indie Awards Winner- World Group of the Year
• 2014 IMA Independent Music Award Winner – Instrumental
• 2014 IMA Independent Music Award - Chris McKhool - Music Producer
• 2013 Festivals & Events- Performer of The Year
• 2013 SiriusXM Indie Awards Finalist – World Group of the Year
• 2013 Folk Music Ontario-Songs of the Heart Award Winner - Instrumental
• 2013 ISC International Songwriting Competition Honorable Mention (out of 19,000 entries)– Instrumental
• 2012 Canadian Folk Music Awards winners– World Music Group of the Year
• 2012 Canadian Folk Music Awards nominees – Instrumental Group of the Year, Pushing The Boundaries
• 2012 Festivals & Events-Entertainer of The Year
• 2011 Ontario Contact - Artist of the Year
• 2011 International Acoustic Music Awards Finalist – Instrumental
• 2011 Independent Music Award Finalist – Instrumental Album, World Beat Album
• 2011 ISC International Songwriting Competition Finalist - Instrumental, World Music
• 2010 JUNO Nominees - "Instrumental Album of the Year"
• 2010 International Songwriting Contest 1st Place Winners - Instrumental (out of 15,000 entries)
• 2010 Indie Awards Nominees - Favourite World Artist/Group
• 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award winner - Instrumental Group of the Year


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The Sultans of String (World)

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JUNO Award Nominees and “Canada’s ambassadors of musical diversity” Sultans of String thrill their audiences with their global sonic tapestry of Spanish Flamenco, Arabic folk, Cuban rhythms, and French Manouche Gypsy-jazz, celebrating musical fusion and human creativity with warmth and virtuosity. Fiery violin dances with rumba-flamenco guita... more info

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra's mission is to enrich the quality of life in and bring prestige to our city, province and country through the presentation of high-quality performances of classical and popular music, and the delivery of excellent education and community programs. more info
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